Elizabeth Henke, Program Director
Montessori Institute for the Science of Peace
In March 2013, FCER’s partnership with the Montessori Institute for the Science of Peace sent its first exploratory group of adolescents into the Children’s Eternal Rainforest (CER) for eight days of immersion. The mission was to take a comprehensive natural history and tropical science research approach to the rainforest, developing a clear academic and emotional foundation for student leadership in rainforest preservation. This group blazed the trail for future exploration and preservation efforts by Montessori adolescents from around the world. FCER curriculum developer Jeffry Norris, Ph. D., Luisa Moreno, Ph.D., and Mark Wainright, President of the Monteverde Conservation League’s Board of Directors assisted the students in designing independent research projects.
Solo observation was the student’s first task. “I loved the solos because I was able to get more in tune with the forest around me. It was like I was in an environmental or rainforest class, where the classroom was CER,” Patrick said. These scientific experiments served the dual purpose of generating essential baseline data and providing a mode of meaningful student-directed interaction with the forest. The students left the CER with an ingrained sense of responsibility. “I feel we have to be ambassadors for the rainforest. We have to educate others as to why the rainforest is such an asset. In order to make people care, we have to make them feel first.” After this trip, Savannah said “I am more aware of problems in the rainforest and am more motivated to take action.”
To learn more about how the students are taking action to preserve the CER, please visit www.constructingpeace.org where you can see video of the students’ reflections on their experience.